Anti Christian Movement (1920's)

    The Anti-Christian Movement

    Around the turn of the twentieth century, China was repeated invaded by the western countries (including England, America, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia), which resulted in great instability and turmoil in the country. Faced with such adversities, most Chinese wished that the country could be united to resist these external invasions. This resulted in an emergence of a strong Nationalist Movement, which eventually sparked the Anti-Christian Movement of the 1922. Christianity was criticized as being the 'Slave of the Western Capitalist Countries'. At that time, Carl Marx's Communist Manifesto was very popular among Chinese youths, and the Anti-Christian Movement was often used as a tool in the power struggle of political parties. Christianity was perceived as unscientific and that it retarded the growth and productivity of the country. Despite the arguments by the religious leaders that Christianity was what the Chinese needed in helping the country to modernize her, the value of Christianity was derogated because it was a foreign religion. Since it was not part of the Chinese tradition, Christianity was disregarded as a mean that could help rebuild the new China.

    In 1924, the Anti-Christian Movement made a comeback, by linking Christianity to Imperialism. Due to the questionable conducts of some of the missionaries (like their ties to the East India Trading Co. which dealt heavily in opium trading, and their involvement in their mother countries invasion of China), Christianity was regarded as an ally of the Imperialism. The uneven and unfair treaties were thorns in the eyes of the Chinese, which constantly reminded them of the shame that they suffered. The protection of the missionaries under these treaties, signaling a strong linkage between the missionaries and the invasions. The hatred towards foreigners brewed and reached a climax with the incident of May 30, 1925. The Chinese demanded to abolish the unfair treaties and a number of demonstrations were manifested. Instantly, foreigners were being targeted for attacks, which seemed to rehash the Boxer Rebellion. At the same time, Christian schools around the nation were under attacked also, with the belief that religious teaching can weaken the patriotism of the Chinese. The movement spread across the nation like wild fire, with conflicts arising in major cities like Hankou, Nanjing, Chongqing, Ningbo and Xiamen. This forced many Chinese Christians to pledge their loyalty to China by requesting the abolishment of the uneven treaties.

    In July of 1925, a new movement was initiated, urging the government to regain the rights to the education system, by confiscating church properties in schools.

    In the 1920s, the Chinese society was influenced heavily by the Nationalist Movement, which was used as a measuring stick for everything, including Christianity. From a political point of view, the Anti-Christian Movement was used by the Nationalist Movement to replace Christianity. After the Communist party took power in 1949, many Christian leaders like Watchman Nee and Wang Mingdao, were arrested and imprisoned. Against the persecution of the Communist government, Christianity have been growing steadily. According to an unofficial survey, there are about 30,000,000 Christians in China today!

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